I think a lot about Jesus. Over the last ten years, he has become the most prominent figure in my spiritual life and connection to God. I love what Paul says about him: that Christ “gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Isn’t that amazing? In looking at Jesus, we get to see God.
Jesus used many metaphors to describe himself, and we could probably occupy ourselves for an entire lifetime just thinking deeply on each of those metaphors.
For today, I want us to consider the metaphor of shepherd.
We have explored previously the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and what it is like for us, as sheep, to be a part of his fold. There is gentleness there, and kindness. There is provision and being seen. Jesus knows each of our names.
Today, I want us to consider a couple lines from the very familiar Good Shepherd psalm, which says:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
The Message version of this passage says it this way:
God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
I love that image of being “bedded down in lush meadows,” don’t you? There’s such a feeling of rest and comfort, like sinking into a huge, billowy, soft bed with luxurious goose-down pillows and comforters. And the image of having quiet pools from which to drink and a chance to catch our breath — what a relief!
Life with Jesus does not mean life without danger or distress. Sheep herds get attacked by wolves. Every year, they must be sheared. They have to travel each day somewhere to get exercise and food and drink. Sometimes sheep get lost.
But walking as a sheep in the fold that’s led by Jesus means always being cared for by him in each situation. He knows the soft meadows and still waters you need. He will lead you there. He companions with you there and stays with you as you drink and eat and rest. If you get lost, he comes after you. He knows if you are missing.
What is it like for you to receive Jesus’ presence in your life in this way? Can you allow yourself to rest in the lush meadow and drink from the still waters he offers you today?